Asbestosis is the most common form of the range of pneumoconioses diseases. It is a chronic inflammatory disease which is caused by the inhalation and retention of asbestos in the lungs which goes on to cause scar tissue (fibrosis) in the lung. Scarred lung tissue does not expand and contract normally so the sufferer will have reduced lung function. Asbestosis is classed as an occupational lung disease and can take several years for any symptoms to begin to manifest themselves. Approximately 4,000 deaths in the UK are attributed to asbestos exposure each year.
Asbestosis symptoms can take several or tens of years to begin to show. The main initial symptom that a sufferer may begin to feel is dyspnoea (shortness of breath) particularly when indulging in some form of physical activity. Advanced forms of asbestosis can lead to respiratory failure and an increased risk of lung cancers, especially mesothelioma.
Main symptoms that may be present in an asbestosis sufferer are -
- Chest pain
- Clubbing of the fingers
- Nail abnormalities
- Shortness of breath
- Tightness in the chest
There is no current cure for asbestosis, although stopping exposure to the source of the asbestos is extremely important. To help sufferers, oxygen treatment is often prescribed to aid breathing and also respiratory physiotherapy. Also certain immunizations can be administered to attempt to prevent complications that can occur due to the asbestosis condition such as pleural effusion and malignant mesothelioma.
Asbestosis claim for compensation
Since the dangers of asbestos to health were discovered there have been many instances of workers claiming compensation for injuries sustained due to prolonged exposure to asbestos. Legal cases have been traced as far back as from 1929 and worldwide there have been settlements made by employers that total billions of pounds over the years.